Card Evaluation – Jwar Jwar Sphinx

In these posts (those marked ‘Card Evaluation’) I’m hoping to discuss the pros et contra of various cards, my thoughts on them, how I think they compare to any competition they might have, and where I think it fits in your cube.

Pros

  • Evasive – Flying isn’t the best kind of evasion, but it’s evasion nonetheless, and it’s the tied second biggest flier in my cube (tied with BSA after Simic Sky Swallower)
  • Shroudy – It’ll die to nothing short of Baneslayer or a Wrath effect.
  • Low colour weight
  • Fairly sized body for cost – A 5/5 for 6 is perfectly reasonable. Not cubable in itself, but it’s perfectly reasonble
  • Looking at top  card ability can be useful – This allows you to use fetchlands and the ilk to shuffle away any unwanted cards. Sometimes useful, usually not.

Contra

  • can’t carry equipment
  • can’t be bounced defensively – this means it’ll have to die if you wrath, unfortuantely.
  • no CIP/LP ability – you’ll get no value out of it if your opponent untaps and wraths away your sphinx.

General Comments

Jwar Jwar sphinx draws some flak when compared with the closest things we have to compare it with : Morphling and Frost Titan.

The comparision to Superman is a little harsh. The general idea with this comparion is that superman has the same clock (or kills a turn quicker, if you curve into it), you can defensively bounce it, or it can carry equipment, untap it to block, whilst being evasive, big and shroudy. The flip side is that you need to keep a lot of mana up to stop Superman eating bolt. To protect it from protection, you need to keep UU open (one for your turn, one for your opponents), flying costs another U, and 5 power costs 2, so all in all, you might have to pay 2UUU every turn to maximise Superman, or more if you want to attack with it then block.

The point of contention lies with your evaluation of whether the large ‘upkeep cost’ of Morphling is worth being able to untap it and bounce it. To me, it’s not worth it ,so I’d usually rather have Jwar Jwar than Superman.

Frost Titan is a slightly easier assessment to my mind. Titan and Sphinx have the same clock – come down at 6 mana, kill in 4 swings.  The titan can be defensively bounced, and can tap down opponent’s permanents, giving it pseudo evasion. The miscalculation in paying for killing FT also gives it a little bit of resilience to removal, especially if you start tapping lands.  However, to me, adding pseudo to evasion and shroud means that FT gets the thumbs down from me. My opponent would have to be playing stuff like Faith’s Fetters on my Titan before I’m not trading down, and that’s not good enough to my mind.

For me , the ranking of these three powerhouses is:

Jwar Jwar Sphinx > Morphling > Frost Titan

I just don’t think the pseudo on Frost Titan is worth the investment, and the ‘upkeep cost’ on Morphling makes it ugly to me.

Verdict : 360 staple (or, if you prefer Morphling, 450 unpowered, 550 powered)

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